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There’s a lot of new goodness in the 2025 Arctic Cat snowmobile line, and I know many of you have been clamoring for more details, more insights, and by and large just more to satisfy your appetite surrounding the new Catalyst platform sleds. With that I’m happy to finally dive into some of that new goodness starting with the new G8 display. While I was in West Yellowstone  last week, I was able to spend some time with Justin Scholl, the primary engineer behind the development of the G8. Justin walked me through a lot of the details of the display, what it offers, how to navigate the multiple screens and information available, and how it’s likely what we will experience with the new G8 over the next year will be just the tip of the iceberg.

Justin Scholl – Arctic Cat Computer and Electrical Engineer

ARCTIC INSIDER: Justin,what is your current role at Arctic Cat and how have you been involved in the development of the G8?

JUSTIN SCHOLL: My current role at Arctic Cat is a Computer/Electrical Engineer. I am the lead engineer for the Arctic Cat G8 project. I have been responsible for the majority of the development and integration. 

AI: The Arctic Cat faithful have been asking for something like this for quite some time, I think once they experience it they will agree, the G8 was worth the wait. How long has the G8 been in development and what were some of the biggest goals you and the team were looking to achieve with the gauge package?

JS: A new display has been on Arctic Cat’s roadmap for a while. One of the largest goals was to develop a robust system enough to grow with our future advancements and an ecosystem of trail information. The G8 display has been under development for the last 3 years however, the project started over 5 years ago with the release of our Tread 5.5” accessory. Arctic Cat spent the first few years working with Garmin developing the ecosystem of trails. There was a large amount of effort early on to ensure we had appropriate trail information and had a way to present it to customers where it would continue to be updated when necessary and be included easily.

AI: Beyond how great it looks and the navigational elements, in your opinion what are some of the coolest or best “lesser known” features of the G8?

JS: I believe one of the more unknown features about the G8 is the fact that it is built off of the Garmin Tread family of devices. This gives us the unique advantage of it being fairly user customizable, and being able to run various accessories such as Bluetooth headsets,cameras, Garmin InReach, and the ability to run various other apps such as weather and Radar, and many more things that snowmobilers will find very useful.

AI: Why is the G8 only available with ATAC?’

JS: It was chosen to be a factory installed option on the ATAC model as this model is seen as the premium package. This encourages customers to get the most potential out of the new gauge by including all the feathers that it can control. However, the Arctic Cat G8 can be added to any model Catalyst through our accessory kit and is plug and play with zero programming required. (For more information on the accessory kit see your local Arctic Cat dealer – AI) 

AI: Can the G8 be retro fitted and if so, will there be kits available to help accomplish this?

JS: For 2025 there will be an accessory kit that will allow the G8 to be placed on any Catalyst model sled. There was a lot of thought placed into the G8’s design and this includes being plug and play which will certainly aid in future development of accessory kits for potential in legacy platforms such as the Thundercat.

AI: Why is the Group Ride Radio feature not available in Canada?

JS: The G8 Group Ride Radio is available in the US and Europe. It is not available Canada as the Group Ride Radio uses frequencies that are not permitted in Canada.

AI: After spending just a few days with the G8 on the snow, I can’t say enough good things about it. It also appears there is a lot of room to expand the technology and features of the G8 down the road. Can you talk about that a little?

JS: There certainly is. A lot of thought went into the hardware and software design of this display. Over the Air updates for not only mapping but unit software allows us to continue to grow and develop more features in the future and the great thing about software updates is we can offer those to customers with existing units. 

The vehicle performance screen is in my opinion the best looking layout amongst the current OEM offerings. The design is clean, simple, and very easy to read. A classy feature is how the colors of the fuel or temperature bars change depending upon fuel level or temperature – this makes it even easier to recognize if you are starting to run low on fuel or you have a potential overheating issue. Across the bottom of the screen are five customizable fields or tiles. Tapping on a tile brings you to a listing of available fields for vehicle performance or GPS navigation. Selecting an item from the list automatically places it in the particular tile on the main screen. In this video I have Justin walk through this screen, however we did it with the engine not running so it was easier to hear, thus why many of the fields are not showing vehicle vitals.
(Editor’s Note – this video and those following do not have audio) The Main menu of the G8 Display allows you to quickly and simply tap one of four navigational windows bringing you to that particular primary data screen. On the right hand side of the display there are additional navigational buttons/widgets which you can customize via the “apps” screen. Here you’ll find a host of additional features including detailed altimeter, barometer and compass, detailed pitch and roll of the vehicle (something that will be perfect for side-by-side owners, weather, and even weather radar (which does require your phone to have a data connection). If you want to make it easier to navigate to any of these widgets, you can select them and add them to your most often used navigation for quicker access.
One of the most talked about and asked about features of the new G8 Display is the group ride function. First off, the group ride feature can track other riders in your group with or without cellular coverage, this is especially important for off-trail riding in terrain where hills, mountains, or dense tree coverage can limit cellular coverage. The integrated Group Ride Radio feature allows other G8 equipped riders to see and send short SMS text, and track up to 20 other riders. Plus, when you pair the G8 with a compatible Bluetooth headset, you can also communicate with other riders via two-way voice. For those riders in your group without the G8, you can still join the group ride functionality by downloading the free app (Garmin Tread App). The app will also allow them to enjoy all the mapping features when joined to a Tread device. When you create a group, you can let other riders know about the group and invite them to join by sharing a unique Ride ID. They can even use their smart phone’s camera to scan the url code to join the ride. Currently, due to government restrictions on frequencies, the integrated Group Ride Radio feature is not available in Canada.
The G8 comes preloaded with snowmobile trail maps and various points of interest for the United States and Canada, which are continually being updated. The map view features multiple user selectable views including topography, private/public lands (which is incredibly useful for off-trail riding), and various points of view such as birds eye or 3D. More importantly, users can plan routes, track routes, or simply choose a destination and the G8 will provide turn-by-turn navigation along with various trip details such as estimate arrival time and distance to destination. Make a wrong turn, and the system automatically recalibrates your route – similar to nearly all navigation systems found in modern automobiles. For details on route coverage areas and points of interest by state or province, this link provided by Garmin gives greater detail.
The connectivity of the G8 along with the vast array of apps that come pre-loaded, transforms the display to provide so much more than just vehicle information and navigation. For example, when connected to your smartphone, the G8 allows you to pull up weather forecasts and even live radar, so you can see where that big storm is tracking. And let’s not forget the media capability and a compatible Bluetooth headset, the G8 allows you to listen to and control your favorite music.


  1. I’m not a huge gauge guy but this does seem like a home run for Arctic Cat. Partnering with Garmin was a winning move, the gauge looks great.

  2. Yup, I’m gonna need this on my 2024 Catalyst.

    Did I understand correctly that the Group Ride works without the radio option? I’m also not clear on whether the group ride is available for a non-G8 (or Tread) rider that simply has the Garmin app on their phone?

    • I downloaded the tread app on my phone. That satellite view is about as close to live as I have ever seen. Pulled up the North Twin, cor race (Pinehurst), and you can view the track on ice.

    • Group Ride works without the radio option. It just requires you to connect via Bluetooth to your phone and requires cellular signal.
      Anyone can download the free app and use that to join a Group Ride!

  3. I just noticed the antenna adjacent to the display.
    Is that something unique to Arctic Cat or do the Ski Doo and Polaris displays also have the antenna in plain view?
    Personally, I find it distracting and detracts from an otherwise uncluttered and visually appealing dash design.

    • Competitive designs use an integrated antenna, while it might be a “cleaner” look, the external mount provides a stronger and more consistent signal, especially in areas where signal strength is blocked by trees, etc. I really never noticed the antenna, and it is very flexible so there is no concern about damaging it.

  4. I saw the antenna, too me it does look out of place. The gauge and mounting look awesome and the antenna takes away from that. I think the catalyst is also awesome looking but in person it deff is third place when it comes to clean fit and finish. Compared to doo and Polaris it looks cheaper. I’m still buying one. I’m curious if past arctic riders who have switched will go back to cat now or not. The reviews are saying that catalyst pushes into hard pack corners and then inside ski lifts. Hopefully cat can figure that out, cats suspension is good but prob also third to doo and Polaris so the handling is what cat usually can hang there hat on.

      • I understand the benefits of an external antenna vs integrated antenna like Doo & Poo.
        I think the message is that Cat could have been a little more discriminating as far as placement is concerned.
        World class, industry-leading design and attention to detail says you sweat the small stuff, especially for what consumers are being asked to pay these days.
        Yeah, snow conditions suck but it’s a level playing field for the three mfrs and Doo just got glowing reviews on its new wide-spaced A-arm / tall spindle front suspension.

    • It’s funny. The snomo rags all give Ski Doo’s rMotion top ratings for the three mfrs rear skids and previously Polaris’s front suspension top ratings for the three mfrs front suspensions.
      Until now…
      Ski Doo has gone full-on wide spaced a-arms / tall spindles, and Mark Lester’s recent review moves Ski Doo up from 3rd to a tie for 1st. Reviews of Cat’s revised front suspension remain mixed.

  5. Relax jim, like I said I’m still buying one. Just stating facts. Ac needs to draw in new customers. Like I said just curious if a ski doo or Polaris guy rides a catalyst does it make them come back to cat. I hope so

  6. Can I get my lake maps on it? It would be so handy to ride from my cabin on the trails and then onto the lake and follow the depth and contours to my favorite fishing spots!

  7. The question I have. And the 2 engineers couldn’t answer me 🙄‼️ Is if I put it on my 024 600 with 650 miles & 30hrs on it. Now say I buy a new 858 Alpha without the G8. But I want to switch it for my out West trip. Is the brand new Alpha ECU going to have 650miles & 30hrs on it now ? Or is the G8 going to show 0 miles ❓Is that info stored in the G8 or in the ECU ❓

    • This is a great question and very important. Since it’s still not available to consumers, it’s possible that we might not find out until we’re able to get ahold of the documentation on the install/operation. So, keep that question at the ready, but it might be a couple months before we can get an answer to it.

    • Hours are stored in the ECM and miles are stored in the gauge.
      If you swap to a newer sled it will retain the miles you rode since you originally installed the G8 gauge on your last sled

  8. I really don’t think that little antenna is going to bother anybody, it seems to be clearly out of the way of screen functions. On the front suspension and overall handling, I just don’t think that considering the lack of good normal snow conditions, that riders had time to dial in the necessary calibrations for their specific needs, and some riders may have felt that the sled could have handled somewhat better.

    • The issue with the antenna is more esthetics than anything else. I’m not an electrical engineer but I think that they could have done a better job locating the antenna in a less conspicuous location. Details matter.
      As I said in a prior post, snow conditions suck but it’s a level playing field for the three mfrs and the snomo rags reviewing them. Consensus among the snomo rags is Cat’s front suspension needs some tweaking, Ski Doo has caught up to industry-leader Polaris as far as front suspension performance is concerned (Ski Doo adopting Cat’s wide a-arm spacing & tall spindles- and apparently one-upping Cat).

  9. Unscrew the antenna if you don’t like it . It will still works. Garmin wants the antenna for a reason. Iv got the Tread on my Alpha, the antenna doesn’t bother me. Iv got question what it’s therefore. I tell everyone its for my phone 😉‼️ So I can make phone called while I’m riding in the mountains 😂‼️ As for SkiDoo copying Arctic Cat A-arms again. The snowmo-media. Always thinks it’s the latest and greatest. And brag them up But forget A/C had it many years before!

    • Imitation is the purest form of flattery.

      It can be somewhat embarrassing though if the copy ends up superior to the original.

      • Can’t help but Notice Cat did not sue Doo for copying about every major innovation us purple underwear guys rode last 50 years. But hey who’s counting. No harm done right?

  10. Gee we thought we were rocking when we pulled out a paper map and read it. Next we drove to a trail head and had fun figuring out where this thing went. I don’t get all this information hype. I use my iPhone for mapping in my 10 year old Terrain. Not sure I want to stare at a screen more than enjoy the view in front of me. I’m officially over the hill I guess.


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